Every year we see new trends emerge in the world of luxury web design but 2020 revolutionised the world of websites like never before.
The global pandemic forced brands of all shapes and sizes to re-evaluate their online presence. If they didn’t see the need for a functioning website before 2020 then they certainly would after.
2021 has already seen new trends emerge as brands look for a luxury web design that will set them apart from increasingly saturated and competitive markets. Whilst web developers are putting increased focus on page load speed and user experience, that doesn’t mean the aesthetics of a page are being forgotten.
On the contrary, developers and designers are creating luxury web designs that are functional yet exciting, easy to navigate but certainly not plain. Here we’ve listed some of the key web design trends that are taking 2021 by storm…
As internet connections get stronger and faster, web designers are able to introduce more complex features into websites. A static homepage made up of blocks of text and images is a thing of the past. In their place are combinations of photo, video, audio, animation and text that create a rich user experience.
Multimedia website experiences allow brands to make their content even more accessible and with closed captions and transcripts, users can access the variety of media with ease.
“Websites are becoming more of an immersive experience than ever before. The introduction of scroll based animations, micro-interactions and looping animations have made websites feel more alive. The user is now taken on a journey rather than staring at static visuals.”
(Liam Terry, KIJO)
We know that audiences respond best when presented with an array of media types, preventing the boredom and fatigue that scrolling through pages of static text can bring. Video content has long been a great way to tell a story whilst scroll animations can be utilised to showcase products or services in a way that’s unique and engaging.
2021 sees luxury web designers strike the balance between creating multimedia experiences that take users on a journey further than a static webpage ever could whilst ensuring sites don’t become too overwhelming and hard to navigate.
The increase in web designs featuring interactive multimedia elements is in part fuelled by users desire to immerse themselves in a website. With more time spent online, users need stimulus to interact with on a webpage, helping to convert a passive visitor into an active and engaged user
A luxury web design trend that’s been building slowly for a while is custom cursors. When you go on a website how often do you take any notice of the cursor? Probably only when it’s something a bit different right? The cursor is often an unnoticed and fairly unimportant element of web design. That is until a web designer turns it into something a little more exciting than the common arrow.
Adding a custom cursor to your website is a great way for luxury brands to add a touch of personality to their website without compromising on the actual content. In 2021 most websites are built with a mobile-first mindset, prioritising functionality on mobile devices ahead of desktop. That doesn’t mean however that web designers should disregard desktop-only components like custom cursors.
Custom cursors are a great way of improving the user experience and can help to finish off a luxury web design theme when a standard arrow cursor looks too basic. With luxury brands of all kinds renowned for attention to detail, something as simple as a custom cursor can help to elevate their online presence.
Augmented Reality Experience (AR)
Augmented reality (AR) has been dubbed a ‘rising trend’ for years and now it’s well and truly cemented as a staple of luxury web design. It’s here and it’s time to use it. The AR market is expected to grow to over $97 billion by 2028, making this year the ideal time to introduce it to your website.
AR combines real life input with computer generated ones. The clue is in the name; AR augments the ‘fake’ computerised world with the real one. If you’ve ever seen or used a Snapchat filter or if you joined the millions of others who found themselves hooked on Pokemon Go a few years back then you’ve experienced AR before.
Introducing AR into your luxury web design works especially well for e-commerce brands, allowing users to ‘try before they buy’ in a way that was until now only available in-person. Giving customers the opportunity to sample your products whether it’s trying on a lipstick on their own face or placing a coffee table in their own living room, AR can have a major impact on the decisions your customers make when it comes to making a purchase.
“Augmented reality is a great way of creating more interaction between your customers and products giving them more ammunition for making purchase decisions. It can really set you apart from your competitors.”
(Liam Terry, KIJO)
Luxury fashion label Gucci recently added an AR feature to its app, allowing customers to ‘try on’ the brand’s sneakers before making a purchase. With items selling for a higher price point, luxury brands can offer customers further satisfaction by introducing AR to their online shopping experience.
The last couple of years has seen a rise in dark mode web designs, a direct contrast to the light and bright white spaces that so many luxury web designs favour. 2021 however see’s web designers finding a balance between the two, which results in muted colour schemes.
Think pastel hues such as green, blue and light pink. Colours that are naturally more warm and inviting than the contrast of stark white or dark blues and black.
Muted colour schemes and backgrounds are the perfect way to stop a luxury website from appearing too cold or aloof and instead create an inviting and familiar atmosphere for visitors whilst still maintaining a vibe of exclusivity. Opting for colours in this palette can also help to prevent distraction from the main content of the website, allowing visitors to focus all of their attention on your brand and story.
As web designers focus more on accessibility and ensuring websites are functional for everyone in 2021, muted colour schemes are a great way to ensure web pages are easy to navigate, especially for those who may find harsh or bright web pages too jarring.
Thanks to improvements in both user devices and web designers technology, a key trend for luxury web design in 2021 and beyond is the introduction of 3D visuals.
High-quality 3D visuals and illustrations are an ideal way to add interest and personality to a website and can be used to depict products or to tell a story. Helping to offer users more value when they visit a website, 3D visuals strike the perfect balance between novelty and useful.
“Adding 3D elements to your designs can really make your website stand out. It has the potential to add much more personality and character as opposed to 2D. The best use of 3D are illustrations. They can be used to tell a story to a user in a much more engaging way.”
(Liam Terry, KIJO)
Introducing 3D visuals and illustrations to your website can help to improve the overall user experience, catching the attention of visitors and keeping them on the website for longer.
If you’re keen to create a sense of individuality online and inspire users to remember your brand and return to your website then 3D visuals, in particular illustrations, are a great way of creating a memorable and visually interesting user experience.
3D visual mock-ups are also the perfect way to showcase products to potential customers. With online shopping increasing year on year consumers are on the lookout for brands who make the shopping journey easier. A 3D visual of a product allows customers to visualise the item they’re buying in a way that is unachievable with a static 2D image, helping to improve customer satisfaction and trust.
Load time and Responsiveness
For a while now we’ve understood the importance of having a responsive website and with search engines set to put even more focus on user experience in 2021, it’s never been more important to have a website that loads quickly.
There is so much online competition that users know they don’t need to wait for a slow website to load. They can simply exit it and find another, faster, option.
Whilst page load speed isn’t a visual design feature, it’s one of the most important things to consider when creating a luxury website design. Compressing files and optimising images are just two of the things that web designers should factor into their plans when creating a functional, responsive and attractive website.
Your website is a communication tool and it’s functionality just as much as its aesthetic design should reflect your brand values and service standards. For luxury brands who pride themselves on the highest possible level of service it’s paramount that any online presence reflects this and a responsive website is just the start.
Every year we expect to see new trends emerge in the world of luxury web design and 2021 is no exception. With more focus on eCommerce and online communication than ever before it’s never been more important to stay ahead of the game when it comes to your web design. Focusing on the small details on your website will catapult you to achieving the big wins.